#943 NHL 10

Posted: 22nd August 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , , , ,

264th played so far


Genre: Sports
Platform: PS3/XBox 360
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports

So here’s the thing. Unlike our American friends, when I think of hockey I think of grass or grass-like fields, sensible shoes and a brightly colour ball. This is probably a heritage thing, based on Dutch successes in (Olympic) hockey. When those in North America discuss it though, it’s the ice variant they prefer. Always back to national pride with you…

I have no clue how popular the sport is in the US, comparatively speaking. Somewhere near baseball I guess? It’s one of the big EA Sports franchises. And to be fair – it’s not a sports I want to find out much more about. Yeah, let’s just get it over with.

Our Thoughts

Not too long ago (yeah, three months isn’t long ago now), we discussed Top Spin 3. One of the things that came up when we did were controls – if anything, that was the main point of the write-up. And in a way that’s natural. Sports games aren’t going to give you great graphic leaps – sure, they’ll improve, but they’ll never be the big driver. There’s barely any story – NHL 10‘s ‘from rookie to top player’ mode is pretty much all the story it can have. And gameplay? Well, the rules aren’t going to change much, really.

Actually, that last part is partially a lie. While the rules of the game are the same, the games tend to expand to offer more rules, NHL 10 putting in board play (push players and the puck up against the boards so your team can get a hold of them). We can’t really say much about it though as we’re not invested in the series, we don’t know what the differences are. One main thing they did change was how the fighting was done. The shift to a first person perspective actually makes it more immersive but the disruption this brings to the gameplay does make it a bit annoying… especially if you are starting the fight accidentally.

Still (aside from polish) it comes down to controls for us, at least most of the time. And even there your experience with the game series makes a difference. The game starts with an introduction to the controls, but does so fairly quickly and doesn’t take much time to show the general effects. And yeah, it’s fairly difficult to understand if you don’t know the sport’s jargon. True, we’re not the game’s audience, but that’s still an issue we run into.

The enforced breaks (yeah, you have to rest every few minutes while someone else takes over) didn’t always work either. They pull you out of the game for some time without warning, while when you have to go back in you get dropped into the game out of nowhere, messing a bit with you, trying to figure out what was going on. It also may mean you get bad scores purely through luck (you happen to go out at the wrong time), which felt unfair too.

So yeah, the first few matches were painful. But then we managed to slowly get things together. Assist with a few goals, make one or two myself, become known enough that the game mostly praises you. Sure, I was far from an expert, but it’s certainly possible to learn the game and, within an hour or two, become competent enough that the game becomes fun to play. After this time there is so much available in single player (tournaments, online play, creating your own player and seeing them through the perils of professional play) that lovers of ice hockey will be entertained pitting the Penguins against the Russian national side (not exactly balanced) and newbies will enjoy punching people in a sport other than boxing.

Final Thoughts

So despite ice hockey not really being a favourite sport of ours, this game worked quite well. It took some time to figure out what’s going on, but once it did it played quite well. The simulation mode in particular went well and was quite fun to play through, with the game itself playing fast and fun.

If I cared more, I’d probably get into it more and enjoy it further. For now, I’ll just give it some time later.

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